Dominick Strauss-Kahn was released today on his own personal recognizance, as detailed in The NY Times:
In a letter sent to Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers and filed with Justice Michael J. Obus on Friday, prosecutors outlined some of what they had discovered about Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s accuser, poking holes in her account and her background.
The housekeeper admitted to prosecutors that she lied about what happened after the episode on the 28th floor of the hotel. She had initially said that after being attacked, she had waited in a hallway until Mr. Strauss-Kahn left the room; she now admits that after the episode, she cleaned a nearby room, then returned to Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s suite to clean there. Only after that did she report to her supervisor that she had been attacked.
Prosecutors disclosed that the woman had admitted lying in her application for asylum from Guinea; according to the letter, she “fabricated the statement with the assistance of a male who provided her with a cassette recording” that she memorized. She also said that her claim that she had been the victim of a gang rape in Guinea was also a lie.
The DA’s letter is here, and the letter details, among other things, that the alleged victim lied to the Grand Jury in this case about portions of her story.
The letter does not go into some details that have been reported in the NY Times story, such as her discussing with someone incarcerated the benefits of pursuing the charges and receipt of substantial funds from drug dealers.
So where does this leave us? An alleged victim who lied in the past about being raped (and when she told the false story to prosecutors she “cried and appeared to be markedly distraut”), filed multiple false documents under oath with the government, lied under oath to the grand jury about this case, lied to prosecutors repeatedly during the investigation, may be involved in drug trafficking, and arguably is pursuing the charges for reasons unrelated to the alleged crime.
The letter was a mandatory disclosure of information which may tend to exonerate the defendant, and the Manhattan DA was fulfilling a legal duty by turning over the information. The lettter does not purport to catalog all of the information, but summarizes the information.
The case is not dismissed yet, and it still is possible for the DA to pursue the charges. But that seems unlikely to me. It is one thing to have an alleged victim with past problems, it is another thing to have an alleged victim who lied to the Grand Jury in this case about this incident and lied to prosecutors both about her past and the incident.
I’ve never been a prosecutor and claim no expertise in prosecutorial ethics, so I’ll just give you my belief, for what it’s worth.
Criminal trials should not be crapshoots where the DA throws evidence into the courtroom and sees where it lands. A responsible prosecutor has to exercise discretion and not bring charges if the DA feels that there is not enough credible evidence to support a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt. Who is the better actor or actress on the witness stand should not determine the outcome.
Based on this letter, it’s hard to see how the case moves much further.
Update: A reader posted a video link in a prior post regarding a press conference by the alleged victim’s attorney, in which graphic details were revealed. All of those details would have been known to the DA’s office, yet the office is troubled enough to take these steps. Take the lawyer’s statements with a grain of salt, including allegations that the DA’s office screamed at the alleged victim and her daughter and kicked them out of the DA’s office.